Freedom of Expression

Press Release 72/03


The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Eduardo Bertoni, condemns the detention of more thab ten independent journalists on March 18 and 19 in Havana, Cuba. According to the information received, journalists Ricardo González, president of the Sociedad de Periodistas Manuel Márquez Sterling and correspondent of Reporteros sin Fronteras en Cuba; José Luis García Paneque, director of the agency Libertad, Omar Rodríguez Saludes and Luis Cino, director and reporter of the agency Nueva Prensa; Jorge Olivera, director of the agency Habana Press; Pedro Argüelles Moran, director of the agency Cooperativa Avileña de Periodistas Independientes; Claudia Márquez director of the press agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro; Iván Hernández Carrillo, correspondent of the agency Patria; Miguel Galván of the agency Habana Press; Edel José García, independent journalist; and Víctor Arroyo Carmona of the agency UPECI, among others, were detained by Cuban authorities who accused the journalists of carrying out “subversive activities.” According to the information the authorities will apply laws that repress "grave acts of complicity with the enemy." Additionally, according to the information provided, police personnel forcefully entered the journalists' homes, where they searched and confiscated, among other materials, books from the homes of several of the journalists. At the home of Ricardo González, director of the bimonthly magazine De Cuba, police confiscated a portable computer, a printer, and a fax used to publish the magazine.  

The Special Rapporteur condemns the decision of the Cuban government for violating article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which asserts that “every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever."  

Eduardo Bertoni urges the Cuban authorities once again to change its position regarding the independent press and to allow all inhabitants the right to freedom of expression and information.  

Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
March 20, 2003 
Washington, D.C.